On The Land

14 March, 2024

New machine takes farm to next level

Mareeba lime and mango farm Valentina Caamano (pictured) has been named one of 24 successful businesses to receive a Rural Economic Development (RED) Grant under Round Five of the Queensland Government’s successful program.

New machine takes farm to next level - feature photo

The operation will use the RED grant to install a state-of-the-art fruit packing and grading facility, creating up to four jobs

Overall, the fifth round of the RED Grants program has provided $3.9 million in funding and is expected to create up to 215 direct, long-term jobs

A Mareeba lime and mango farm will transition from a grower-only to a grower-packer operation, creating up to four jobs thanks to the grant.

The farm, trading as Valentina Caamano, is using the RED Grant to fund a fruit grading and packing machine.

The upgrades are expected to improve efficiency and productivity by decreasing fruit processing time, as well as enhancing product quality through superior handling and storage facilities.

The new machine will create up to four direct, full-time jobs.

“The Rural Economic Development Grant will help me set up a packing facility to grow our farm operation and produce more limes and mangoes more efficiently,” farm director Valentina Caamano-Bermudez said.

“The packing facility will increase the amount of produce we can get onto the market floor.

“Having a packing facility will create full-time employment for both shed and paddock production staff.”

Valentina Caamano is one of 24 businesses approved for the fifth round of the competitive RED grants program with a total funding of $3.9 million. 

Grants are available for up to $200,000 with a 50 per cent cash contribution requirement from applicants to fund projects which generate economic and employment opportunities related to primary production value chains across rural and remote Queensland.

Since the first round of the RED Grant scheme in 2018, almost $20 million has been committed towards Queensland’s agricultural sector and more than 3,200 new direct and indirect jobs have been created.

A sixth round of RED Grants has been allocated for the 2023-24 financial year, with applications now open.

For more information about the RED Grant scheme visit

The Queensland Rural and Industry Development Authority (QRIDA) administers the RED Grant scheme on behalf of the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.


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